Producers’ Film Picks for August 2014

The theme this month is: “Western Movements/Western Moments”.



Directed by Orson Welles @ 119 minutes.

Written by Orson Welles, John Houseman, & Herman J. Mankiewicz.

The film stars Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Agnes Moorehead, Ruth Warrick, Everett Sloane, Paul Stewart, with cameos by Nat “King” Cole, & Alan Ladd.

Synopsis:  This is a tale about Charles Foster Kane, a man whose extraordinary rise to fame was only matched by his downfall off “the top of the world”–& of the journalistic quest to understand & decipher his final utterance: Rosebud. 

Tagline: It’s terrific! The classic story of power & the press.

             A year in the making–& every minute an exciting new thrill.

             I hate him! I love him! Hero or heel, scoundrel or saint, or

just a crazy genius?



Written & Directed by Ethan & Joel Coen @ 117 minutes.

The film stars Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Julianne Moore, Steve Buscemi, John Turturro, David Huddleston, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Peter Stormare, David Thewlis, Ben Gazzara, Jon Polito, narrated by Sam Elliott.

Synopsis: When the “Dude” Lebowski is mistaken for a millionaire–two thugs urinate on his oriental rug to force him to pay a debt that he was unaware of. Facing the actual millionaire, asking for compensation, he finds himself accepting a one-time job with a high pay-off. Things go awry & too soon everyone from Porn empire tycoons to Nihilists want a piece of the Dude.

Taglines:  They figured he was a lazy time-wasting sloth–they were right.

                 It takes guys as simple as the Dude & Walter to create a story this complex.




BOYHOOD (2014)

Written & Directed by Richard Linklater & 165 minutes.

The film stars Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke, & Lorelei Linklater.

Synopsis:  Filmed over a 12 year period with the same cast, we watch a boy named Mason grow up on the screen as we witness this movie charting the rocky terrain of childhood; from adolescence through the teen years–like no other film has ever done before.

Tagline:  12 years in the making.


NOTE:  BOYHOOD will open at the Grand Cinema on Friday, August 8, 2014, & it will probably run for several weeks; but for our purposes, pretend it will only run for one week–because this is one of those  odd months where the second Wednesday, 8/13/14 is our Discussion night, following the August 8th second screening. So, that’s right, you will only have six days to get out & see the movie.

CITIZEN KANE will screen at CSL on Friday, August 1, 2014.

THE BIG LEBOWSKI will screen at CSL on Friday, 8/8/14.



The Center For Spiritual Living is located at 206 N. J Street, on the corner of J Street & Division, across the street from the Group Health hospital.

The Grand Cinema is located at 606 S. Fawcett Avenue, on the corner of 6th & Fawcett, in the historic Merlino Building.



  1. Speaking of Westerns

    The three films matched for this month tie into the theme “Western Movements, Western Moments”. The Classic Western movie genre operated within a traditional set of standards – plots, settings, themes and references unique to the eye-witnessed myths of how the American West was won (or lost). This genre developed during a time when our nation was looking west to a less civilized territory for expanded possibilities. The doctrine of Manifest Destiny argued that this was western white man’s privilege and right. It was the place and time for the creation of a new type of heroic American man.

    These three films span a 75 year period of film making and all speak to the cultural phenomena of America’s explosive western expansion. By the time Citizen Kane came along the Western movie genre had begun evolving in shape, style and message. “Citizen Kane’s” protagonist was a child of the frontier and spoke of the West’s bullying movement toward a place at the table of American power elites. Kane is a wild maverick out of The West and a corrupt Eastern establishment the target of his disobedience. His self addressed valentine moments are reinterpretations of the traditional stoic western hero. In the “Big Lebowski” The Dude is a child of the 60’s and a new set of movements and moments are the cultural measure of this new age western man. With “Boyhood” Mason’s central character is the spirit of a contemporary Texas youth as he explores the frontiers of modern family values and critical personal moments.

    These three films admit to a cultural shift in the American West. The three stories involve male protagonists as they invent themselves and take their lead with an evolving West. The Classic Western has been left in the dust as these three derivatives of the western genre offer revised visions of boyhood – challenging developments in the measure of a man for the times.

    As you look at these three works filter your viewing experience through the lens of these three sets of directors: Orson Welles, Ethan and Joel Coen, and Richard Linklater. In the tradition of John Ford they are cinematic poets. See these meaty films as comments on a nation’s Western movement. Also consider the nature of the epiphany moments of Western youth as they seek their adult expressions. It’s western movements and western moments with this month’s picks as John Ford’s drama of the Western experience continues to evolve in its quest of the quintessential Western American male.

    Jim Robbins, Producers Committee
    Tacoma Film Club

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